With our international borders being closed, the one positive is that it has made Australians look to our own backyard for holidays and places which would not necessarily have been at the top of people’s holiday destination lists.
One such place that is rightfully getting the attention it deserves is the Kimberley Region, located in the northern part of Western Australia and one of the most remote and unique landscapes in the world.
Three times larger than England and a population of less than 40,000, the Kimberley Region is one of the worlds last wilderness frontiers. Despite the area’s remoteness, it is also a place of great food, accommodation and friendly locals.
Over recent years there has been more focus on this area with a number of luxury cruise companies operating in the region such as Ponant and Silversea. These ships are perfectly suited for the areas they travel to. Being small luxury vessels they can navigate the area allowing guests to see more of the region. Paired with some luxury properties located in the region, it is the perfect place for a holiday in style.
Cruise routes vary but all travel around the north-western edge of Australia, a raw, wild coastline dotted with about 2,600 islands (many of which are unnamed). Along the way you'll view ancient Aboriginal rock art, swim at freshwater swimming holes, picnic on white sandy beaches and see prolific wildlife, including birds, whales, dolphins and saltwater crocodiles.
There are many highlights, the following are just a handful of what can be experienced.
Witness an astonishing marine spectacle, as the world's largest inshore reef, Montgomery Reef, is transformed by some of the biggest tidal changes on Earth. When the tide falls, the coral reef appears to rise from the ocean in a torrent of cascading water and a plethora of marine life makes its escape - octopuses, turtles, reef sharks and even dugongs, manta rays and dolphins.
Situated between Camden Sound and Collier Bay, the reef forms part of Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park. At around 300 square kilometres, Montgomery Reef is remarkable for its diversity of marine life, as well as the tidal changes - often over eight metres - that create this spellbinding spectacle.
The fishing, snorkelling and diving are spectacular at the remote and pristine Rowley Shoals Islands north of Broome.
The islands are part of the Rowley Shoals Marine Park which sits on the edge of one of the widest continental shelves in the world. Shallow lagoons harbour colourful coral, abundant marine life and even a shipwreck.
Take a dive here and you’ll see untouched coral gardens, giant clams and other shellfish. Rowley Shoals Islands are home to an incredible 233 species of coral making it one of the best dive sites in Australia. Even more amazing is the huge number of fish – 688 species in all.
King George River
The 100-metre twin waterfalls of King George Falls is one of Western Australia’s most astounding spectacles and its highest twin falls. As it plunges over soaring red sandstone cliffs into tidal waters, you can take an invigorating freshwater shower at its base, or view this 2,000 million-year-old wilderness coast from the air.
Due to its remote location, a cruise to the King George River gorge or a scenic flight over the north Kimberley coast is the only ways to access King George Falls. Flights depart from Broome and Kununurra, and cruises are available from Kununurra.
The towering, tiger-striped rock formations of the Bungle Bungles, eroded into beehive-like domes, emerge from an otherwise flat landscape like sunflowers leaning skyward to the light. They're part of the 360-million-year-old Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage Purnululu National Park. This grand expanse, which also harbours sacred Aboriginal rock art, was only "discovered" by Europeans in the 1980s.
The Horizontal Falls
A phenomenon in which tonnes of water squeezes through a gap between twin mountain ranges. The Kimberley's tropical tides are some of the biggest in the world – rising and falling by up to 13 metres.
The jet boat ride through the churning falls is nothing short of spectacular.
The Buccaneer Archipelago
There are few sights more spellbinding than the Buccaneer Archipelago’s 1,000 rocky islands emerging from a blue ocean. A colour scheme of grey, white and faded orange is topped with tufts of tropical growth, showing that where there is extreme age, there is also youth.
In the afternoon sun, a flaming red wall of rock seems to rise with every metre of the three-kilometre (1.9-mile) boat journey along Chamberlain Gorge's flat waters. The escarpment can be found at El Questro Wilderness Park, and the guided cruise is an essential part of any stay.
Rock Art Galleries Along Rivers and Bays
The Kimberley is home to some of Australia's most spectacular rock art, believed to be the oldest in the world. The galleries provide clues into the past, depicting ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. Some of the best locations for rock art in the Kimberley include Doubtful Bay, Mitchell Falls and Vansittart Bay.
Along with these amazing sights and experiences, a stay at the below properties is among the highlights of any Kimberley itinerary.
El Questro Homestead
Nestled within the Kimberley’s vast and ancient landscape and hidden amongst burnt-orange cliffs and lush, green lawns sits El Questro Homestead, a pocket of luxurious exclusivity where you’re encouraged to make yourself at home.
This ten-suite hideaway is surrounded by avenues of frangipani trees and, once inside, offers chic yet cosy and comfortable interiors where bedrooms are cantilevered over the still and tranquil Chamberlain River. El Questro is all inclusive, with dining with a selection of wine, beer and spirits, as well as private homestead experiences, included.
Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, Broome
A stay at Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa is essential for anyone staying in Broome. The only accommodation in Broome located on the beach, Indian Ocean sunsets, gently swaying palm trees, and Kimberly charm, it’s truly a destination unlike any other in the area.
The property has two pools, delicious cuisine, leisure facilities, and Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane, Cable Beach Club offers a place to unwind and create lasting memories.